Rule 126: Dispose of your garbage properly and promptly
"Whose turn is it to take out the trash?" Elder McKinley asked his elders on the morning of collection. The elders had a rota, that he'd drawn up, and he always appreciated it when his boys stuck to his organisation. But more often than not, whoever was on duty would forget to take out the trash.
"Not mine." All the elders replied in unison without looking up from their tasks.
"Well it has to be someone's turn." Elder McKinley folded his arms across his chest and leant his weight back on one foot. He looked accusingly at all the elders who avoided his gaze.
"Elder Church? Isn't it you?"
"No," Elder Church said quickly, "I did it twice in a row a few weeks back, when Davis was ill."
"Elder Davis, why don't you do it then?"
"I did it last week."
"Hey! I did it last week!" Elder Schrader interjected.
"Maybe it was the week before then," Elder Davis said simply, flicking the pages of his book.
"I'll look at the rota then." Elder McKinley disappeared into his office, nine pairs of rolled eyes following his back.
At home, taking the trash out was an easy task, but in Uganda it was easier said than done. It had to be carried down the track to the disposal place where they could get rid of it safely.
"I think we should just nominate someone to always do it," Kevin said kicking back into the sofa and crossing his legs, "Instead of having this stupid rota."
"Then I nominate you." Elder Zelder patted Kevin on the shoulder as several other elders chipped in.
"Thanks for the noble sacrifice Kevin."
Before Kevin could open his mouth to complain Connor had returned clutching his precious rota.
"Kevin, it's you."
"Ha." Elder Church sniggered inviting those around him to do the same. Kevin scowled and snatched the paper from Connor's hands.
"Fine," He said reluctantly, dropping the paper to the floor with the air of a caught out child. He pouted and strided over towards the door with an eccentric swagger that drew a few snorts. Kevin's attempts to appear like he didn't care had so far failed dismally.
He hoisted the bag of trash and staggered under its weight.
"Ooh wait one second!" Chris said rushing to his room before emerging with several empty poptarts boxes.
"Where've you been hiding those?" Connor asked, "Were they in our room?"
"If I told you I'd have to kill you," Chris replied with utter seriousness. He placed the boxes precariously ontop of the bag of trash ignoring Kevin's expression, and skipped back to his seat.
Kevin waited by the door looking around pointedly, expecting someone to open it for him. When no one sprang to their feet straight away he huffed and used his foot to lever the door open.
It took all his strength just to get the bag out the door. He had half a mind to suggest they take the trash out more often than they did before remembering this would mean he'd have to do it more often.
He looked up at the bright voice and straightened up to see Nabulungi waving at him a little way off. He waved back then wiped his brow with the back of his hand.
"Are you taking out the trash?"
"Yeah, it's my turn."
She perched on a branch and crossed her legs as if to watch. "I just wanted to ask a few questions, but I can wait until you're done."
"Oh sure," He paused for a moment, surprised when she stayed put, legs swinging and grazing the dirt. "It might take a while."
"I have to take this all the way down the track," He gestured to the large bag.
"Oh you do it that way." She smirked and rested her elbows on her knees.
"There's another way?"
"Well there's Elder McKinley's way, which is your way, the we should follow the rules way, and then there's Arnold's way."
"Arnold's way?" Kevin said suspiciously.
"And what's Arnold's way?"
"He can tell you himself." Her smile brightened as she caught sight of Arnold coming towards them.
"Hello Naba," Arnold said shyly and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"Hello Arnold." She giggled coyly as Kevin rolled his eyes at the sacharine display.
"I thought you might like some help," Arnold turned to Kevin glancing at the heavy trash, "There's an easier way you know."
"So I've heard. I'm guessing this way is of course safe and coincides with the rules?"
"Neither!" Arnold replied grinning, "Now follow me."
He took Naba's hand and they started walking off in the opposite direction to the one he was meant to be going. He looked both ways then shrugged deciding that if this was easier he might as well try it.
They been walking barely a minute when they all stopped. Naba took a few careful steps forward, her feet hidden in long grass. "Here." She said finally as she seemed to find what she was looking for.
"What?" Kevin asked the two of them growing increasingly confused.
"The trash," Arnold explained, "You can throw it down here."
"It's fine," Naba added.
"Fine? We can't just dump trash all over the village!"
"No no it's ok! Seriously!" Arnold coaxed Kevin into putting the bag down and he moved forward slightly.
"How is this ok?"
"Because of where it leads," Naba said with an air of mystery before laughing, "You can't see the hole, but under this grass is a drop. It goes a long way down and when it comes out, it lands straight in the general's camp."
"Oh." Kevin instinctively tensed up at the name wondering when he'd be able to rid himself of this now ingrained reflex.
"So go one," Arnold encourage, "Give it a good throw."
Kevin thought for a moment. It was wrong for someone like him to be doing something like this. The faint word 'revenge' was unhelpfully floating around in front of his eyes. No, this was very wrong and he'd just turn around and do it the normal way.
Granted the normal was for quite far away now. And the bag was very heavy. And this was very convenient. And he was only human.
He closed his eyes then settled to just do it. Afterwards he could pray or something like that. He found the hole, lifted the bag over his shoulder, and swung it down before letting go.
They all listened for a moment as the trash skidded down the hole before landing with a thump at the bottom.
There was silence.
Then Naba turned to face the boys and said quickly and quietly, "Run."
As the voices grew in volume the three of them ran faster and faster, regret rushing through Kevin's mind. The mission centre came into view and they began sprinting faster to reach it.
Kevin collided with the door, confused for a moment, until Arnold caught up behind him and opened it. They fell through into the living room, slamming the door behind them, leaning against the wall and panting.
"What happened to you?" Connor looked up, as did the rest of the elders, at the sound of the two of them entering.
"We...we...we were..." Kevin said between breaths before looking around him. "Where did Naba go?"
"Back to...her...hut," Arnold wheezed, bending over and resting his hands on his knees, "It was...closer."
"You didn't answer my question," Connor said, his hands moving to his hips.
"We went to take the trash out." Kevin collapsed onto the sofa, beginning to catch his breath back. "What did you think we'd been doing?"
"I don't trust you." Connor pursed his lips and squinted at Kevin, eyeing him up and down.
"Nothing to see here." Kevin waved away the stares from the other elders, "What are you all looking at?"
"Well if you're sure you've done nothing wrong, which I'm certainly not, then fine."
Arnold and Kevin let out simultaneous sighs as Connor wandered off to finish up his other duties.
"I think we got out of that one buddy."
"Yeah, but, never again. I'm just going to take the trash out the normal way instead of just chucking it off a cliff."
They jumped at the sound that shook through the mission hut. The elders all looked up with horrified expressions to the door where the shout had come from.
"Was that...?" Arnold turned to his companion, who was now sitting on his hands in an instinctively protective gesture.
"Nope." He squeaked, his voice unnaturally high pitched. The voice rumbled through again.
"PRICE! GOT ANY SPARE BOOKS IN THERE?!"